Black History Month

black history month

This year's events honoring Black History Month at Reed celebrate “Politics, Activism, and Art.” Black History Month opens with former congressman Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee on Saturday, February 2, and closes with artist, author, and activist Faith Ringgold on Sunday, February 24. The events coincide with Working History, an exhibition at Reed’s Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, which is on view January 22–March 2.


Fred Wilson seatWorking History

January 22–March 2
Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery
Winter gallery hours: Thursday–Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.

Artist Talk and Opening Reception
Friday, February 15, 6:30 p.m.
Artist talk by Nick Cave in Vollum lounge followed by a reception at the Cooley Gallery

Working History brings together artwork by significant contemporary African American artists—fabric, photography, video, printmaking, mixed media, sound, and painting—and exhibits their work alongside historical and ephemeral objects. Curated by Cooley Gallery director Stephanie Snyder, the exhibition explores the singular and critical manner in which African American artists have repurposed and worked historical source material into forms of social and political critique and personal revelation. Artists include Nick Cave, Sam Durant, Kianga Ford, David Hammons, Glenn Ligon, Dave McKenzie, Lorraine O’Grady, Io Palmer, Adrian Piper, Faith Ringgold, Kara Walker, and Fred Wilson. Check the Cooley Gallery website for information on talks by Io Palmer, Nick Cave, and Kianga Ford.


This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Oregon Council for the Humanities (OCH), a statewide nonprofit organization and independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OCH’s grant program.


FordHarold Ford Jr.
“An Afternoon with Harold Ford Jr.
The Economy and the 2008 Elections”

Saturday, February 2 at 2 p.m.
Kaul Auditorium

Harold Ford Jr. served Tennessee in the United States Congress for 10 years. Described by President Bill Clinton as “the walking, living embodiment of where America ought to go in the 21st century,” Ford is now chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, visiting professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University, and vice chairman of Merrill Lynch and Co.


BerryMary Frances Berry
“Race, Politics, and the 2008 Elections”

Sunday, February 10 at 3 p.m.
Kaul Auditorium

Professor Mary Frances Berry has been a pioneering intellectual, civil servant, and social critic for more than four decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, Berry served as assistant secretary for education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; she served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1980 to 2004, and was chair for 11 years. A co-founder of the Free South Africa Movement, Berry is the author of seven books, including Long Memory: The Black Experience in America (with co-author John W. Blassingame). She is currently Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania.


RinggoldFaith Ringgold
“Thirty Years as an Artist, Author, and Activist”

Sunday, February 24 at 3 p.m.
Kaul Auditorium

Faith Ringgold is internationally renowned for her painted story quilts—works that combine painting, textile, and storytelling. Ringgold, who comes to Reed in conjunction with the Cooley Gallery exhibition Working History, has work in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and the Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Black History Month programming is sponsored by the departments of English, music, political science, psychology, and sociology (through the Robert H. and Blanche Day Ellis fund), the Division of Literature and Languages, the Office of the Assistant Dean of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of the Vice President and Dean of Student Services, and the Office of the President.